Labour claim that Budget is let-down

Shadow Health Minister Colin Smyth
Shadow Health Minister Colin Smyth

Disappointment was expressed on Wednesday by South of Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth that the Budget that day failed to identify any specific measures to boost the local economy.

He said: “The budget was a huge missed opportunity; despite the hype about supporting a Borderlands Growth Deal, the Chancellor failed to allocate a single penny for such a deal which is deeply disappointing. With economic growth forecasts down, it is clear that the economy of the south of Scotland is going to continue to lag behind the rest of the UK.

“Despite all the hype about supporting a Borderlands Growth Deal, the Chancellor failed to allocate a single penny for such a deal which is deeply disappointing. With economic growth forecasts down and no new investment, it is clear that the economy of the south of Scotland is going to continue to lag behind the rest of the UK as a result of this budget. The continuation of austerity will also mean more cuts to our schools and hospitals and with wages down, but prices in the shops rising, families locally are becoming worse off all the time.

“The Tory Government should have used the budget to pause the disastrous Universal Credit which will be rolled out early next year in the area but their failure to do so will cause utter misery for local families affected”

“The Chancellor’s commitment to exempt emergency services from VAT is welcome but does not go far enough. £140m has been unfairly taken from our emergency services by the Tory Government over the past few years following the SNP’s incompetent centralisation of police and fire services and this has led to massive cuts with the closure of the police and fire control rooms in Dumfries and police station closures across the south of Scotland. We need to ensure that every penny that will be saved by this VAT exemption goes to protecting police and fire services.””